Posts Tagged ‘grateful’

Un-SQL Friday 001 – Branding & Bunny Murder

November 19th, 2010

Jen McCown in her SQL Awesomesauce blog today raised the challenge for us to wax poetic on the topic of ‘branding’ for the ceremonious very first Un-SQL Friday. I’m sure more will follow as the day progresses, but as of now, I’ve seen only two fellow bloggers chiming in; Andy Leonard & Thomas LaRock. Well, here’s my two cents on this very interesting topic.

Those six of you who come here and also follow me on Twitter, may be already aware of my appreciation for the musings of Seth Godin. While I’ve never been employed in any formal capacity as a marketer, I’ve recently had quite an internal debate over branding; and specifically my own. As he often does, Seth puts it quite succinctly:

Take the time and money and effort you'd put into an expensive logo and put them into creating a product and experience and story that people remember instead.

And while a free Twitter account and a $4.99 monthly investment to Go-Daddy for this blog don’t necessarily qualify as “money and effort” or an “expensive logo”, on my smaller scale, the decision to brand myself as the Grateful DBA ultimately comes down to just what Seth preaches. Who are you and what do you want to be known for? What does your brand say about you? And maybe most importantly, what will your brand say about you in the future? We live in an electronic age; nothing goes away forever anymore. Those familiar with the saga of our poor friend “@SQLTech2” on Twitter can certainly attest to this.

On the most basic level, we need to think about whether we should spend effort and time with a brand that may or may not even be appropriate one, two, or even 10 years down the line. While for the foreseeable future I see myself continuing in my career as a SQL Server DBA, who knows what next year may hold. Maybe I’ll move into a developer role sometime again; perhaps not even with good ol’ T-SQL, maybe even C#, Java, or who know what. Similarly, what if in the future it comes out that Jerry Garcia was the owner of a international consortium of bunny-killers? Well, I may have to seriously reconsider being associated with such a character. Well, maybe not, bunnies CAN get pretty vicious you know…

We also have to consider if people are even going to understand what your brand means, right? It occurs to me that perhaps in some third-world corner of the globe, they’ve never even heard of the Grateful Dead. Blastphemy…I know! But let’s play make believe then. The next question when they hit my site via a Bing search is of course, “what the heck is he all grateful about?” I concede this possibility tongue-in-cheek, but it’s a real issue to consider.

Once your audience knows what your brand means/refers to, what connotations does that carry with it? Are these connections something you wish to carry with you? Who would you rather do business with, “The #1 Microsoft DBA 5-years Running” or “The Crackhead DBA”?? Impressions before knowledge is dangerous territory, but unfortunately reality as well. By the way, the first guy was just arrested for embezzlement and is a polygamist. The second gal’s actual given name is “Crackhead”; don’t blame her, it’s mom & dad’s fault.

Ultimately, what it came down for me was that I’m not ashamed in any way to be associated with the band and people that have meant so much to me in the last 20 years of my life. Whereas some may carry the notion with them that the Dead are only about sex, drugs, & rock-n-roll; any truly informed person knows the band was about peace, order, & caring for your fellow man. None of those are EVER anything to be embarrassed about. So, the decision to brand myself “The Grateful DBA” was made quite easily. The band, it’s scene, & followers have actually MADE me what I am today; a more-than-competent DBA and a valued contributor to the SQL community and the world in general.

So, what does your brand say about you?

Have a Grateful day…Troy

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Posted in Branding, Grateful Dead | Comments (2)

What Three Events Brought You Here?

January 17th, 2010

Paul Randal asked yesterday in his blog, “What three events brought you here?”  As I read through his post and then Scott Gleason and Brent Ozar’s follow-ups, I thought to myself perhaps it might an interesting exercise to answer this question in an honest way. Narrowing down 42 years into three occasions at first seems like a daunting task, and it probably is. But since the Cowboys are getting their tail kicked by the Vikings at this particular moment, and that’s depressing the cr@p out of me, I think I’ll give it a go.

  1. 4/7/85 – I can hear it now, “we knew you’d include your first Dead show.”  Well congrats, you were spot on.  As cliche as it sounds, indeed that show was a major life occasion for me.  I don’t mean it in a “wow, did I get f’d up that night” kinda thing either.  I found my second family that spring evening; one that hasn’t left a day since then.  It’s hard to explain, but an intangible element pervades the atmosphere at these events that I’ve been unable to recreate in any other form since.  Jerry and the boys still to this day (even a full 15 years since his passing) bring peace and order to my life.  The music and my Dead family fill my mind with joy and purpose and expect they will for a very long time.   Been struggling with a nasty replication problem all day?  Hmmm, how ’bout a mind-numbingly sweet 5/8/77?  The devs insist it’s a SQL problem but you’ve run trace after trace proving otherwise?  How about a smokin’ 8/29/83 to soothe your soul?  I suspect strongly that a lot of you won’t really appreciate this as much as I do.  But you all will have to agree that whatever you find in life that feeds the soul, be it fishing, knitting, riding your motorcycle, or the Grateful Dead; sometimes that’s all you need to put you in the right place.  The late Bill Graham said “The Grateful Dead aren’t the best at what they do.  They’re the only ones that do what they do.”
  2. The day in 1998 I left Chrysler Financial – After graduating from Delaware in 1989 (go Hens), I did what most art majors do; worked in a restaurant.  After eight years running IHOPs, Pizzeria Uno’s, Perkins, and a couple Olive Gardens, I had had enough coming home smelling like a fryer every night.  Taking a position in suburban Philadelphia w/ CFC in their customer service department eventually brought me here to sunny Florida.  For that, actually I’m pretty happy.  But the job itself (post-repossession collections) was absolutely horrible.  Dunning people for money you know they didn’t have will wear tirelessly on you.  It wasn’t long before I ached to do something else; something more fruitful both mentally and fiscally.  It was then I turned my life around by leaving Chrysler, getting an evening job waiting tables, and going back to school and getting my technical degree.  It was a difficult several years but changed things for me monumentally.  Shortly thereafter, I landed my first position as a business analyst and Microsoft Access specialist.   A few years later here we are.  Not only has my income multiplied several-fold since Chrysler, but more importantly; I actually enjoy waking up in the morning and going to work.  You can’t put a money value on that.
  3. Orlando SQL Saturday 2009 – Now I realize this was a few months ago, but this was the day that truly awakened me to the depth of the SQL community.  Yes, I’d heard of Twitter.  Yes, I read a couple blogs here and there.  But it wasn’t until this Saturday that I was made aware of just how much of a brotherhood that existed within the SQL professionals all over the world.  Connected in real time by the miracle of the internet and this “new” technology called Twitter, I shortly came to realize just what resources and kind individuals were out there.  Sessions from my new friends Jorge Segarra and Andy Warren cemented this new found knowledge.  Within a few days, the GratefulDBA Twitter account had been opened and the beginnings of this blog were starting to take shape.  If I had to pick a single day that brought me into the world of blogging, this would have to be it.

Mark Twain said, “Always do right.  This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”

Have a Grateful day…Troy

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Posted in Life | Comments (1)


November 23rd, 2009

This song’s been dinging in my head all weekend. Enjoy this bit of ’72 crunchyness.

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Posted in Grateful Dead | Comments (0)

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